Carndonagh CLG scaled the dizzy heights of Sliabh Sneacht, Inishowen’s highest peak, on the last Sunday in June, all in the name of fun.
“Well fun and our Sports Hall Fund,” explained club chairperson Paddy ‘Mooney’ McLaughlin, clearly delighted by the success of the sponsored climb.
He added: “615 metres above sea level, you get a fantastic view of the Urris Hills, Malin Head and the north coast of County Antrim. They say that on a clear day, it is possible to see as far into the distance as Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre.
“The proceeds of the climb are going towards Carndonagh CLG’s state of the art sports hall, which will be the icing on the new Pairc UÍ Dhochartaigh cake. We are hoping to begin building in the early autumn, with the sports hall opening in early spring. We cannot turn a sod until we know the outcome of the club’s funding application to the Sports Capital Programme of the National Lottery. This crucial decision is due later in the year.
“However, that has not stopped the absolutely phenomenal fundraising effort within Carndonagh CLG, for which much credit must go to Michael Doherty. In the last few years, Michael and his tireless team have raised more than 30,000 euro through events such as last year’s Sliabh Sneacht Challenge and our club Mr and Mrs Night. That is not to mention their innovative interest free loans scheme, were members of the local community pledge a certain amount of money to Carndonagh CLG, for a specified number of years, after which it is repaid,” said Paddy.
Describing the support, which the Carndonagh community has extended to the club over the last couple of years as ‘absolutely brilliant’, Paddy said: “Carndonagh CLG sought and received the backing of local schools and community groups for our National Lottery application. I am looking forward to reciprocating the faith they showed in us, by welcoming them into our new sports hall, which will be complete with a 3G pitch.
“Visiting the new Pairc UÍ Dhochartaigh recently, Donegal sports editor, Harry Walsh. was so impressed, he labelled it as the ‘ideal centre of excellence in Donegal’.
“CLG Carndonagh moved to Foden in 2006. We have a fantastic 13 acre site with a floodlit pitch; a main pitch that is bigger than Croke Park and is playable all year, due to the extra drainage the club incorporated into its construction; a stand which can accommodate 100 people; and a beautiful clubhouse. Above all Pairc UÍ Dhochartaigh is a safe place, where growing numbers of children are participating in football and hurling,” Paddy added with satisfaction.
Originally a hurling club named Cuchullains and initially situated in Millbrae, beside Kelly’s Service Station, CLG Carndonagh will celebrate its centenary in 2016.
Sketching the history of the red and greens, Paddy said: “The club was founded by James Reid, a Drumkeen native who taught in Craigtown School in the Parish. Other club stalwarts were, Michael F O’Doherty, who gave his name to our two grounds; John Denney, an agricultural adviser from Cavan; J Kirwan of the National Bank: the Reverend D Reid; and Joe Lynch.
“Ninety-nine years on, 40-plus CLG Carndonagh coaches look after under-age hurling teams right through to minors and camogie teams up to 16. One of our main ambitions over the next few years is to field a senior hurling and camogie team. We also field under-age, minor and senior football teams, boys and girls, men and ladies. This is testament to the perseverance and dedication of club men such as Tom Farren and Tom McBrearty, down the years.
“With a club emphasis on the enjoyment of our Gaelic games, through the teaching of skills, CLG Carndonagh fully supports the Silent Sideline Initiative, through which youngsters are encouraged to respect match officials, other coaches and players. And young people from our club are making a tremendous impact at county level.
“Our right corner back, Danny Monagle was the cornerstone of Declan Bonner’s Donegal minor team last year. He marked ‘The Dancer’ from Kerry out of the final. Pádraig Doherty is on the senior hurling team; Cathal Doherty and James Monagle are Donegal minor hurlers; Rachel McLaughlin and Niamh McDaid play for the u-16 Donegal ladies team; and last, but not least, Deidre Foley and Tressa Doherty were part of last week’s victorious Donegal ladies team. All in all, it is a case of CLG Carndonagh abú,” smiled Paddy broadly.